With the demand for Remdesivir soaring, cops have been seizing many vials being sold in the black market for exorbitant prices.

Those arrested for selling Remdesivir vials in the black market By arrangement
news Crime Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - 18:53

Amid the fierce second wave of COVID-19 infections in Telangana and the shortage of resources, the police have been making efforts in nabbing those capitalising on people’s desperation. On April 27, two people were caught red-handed by the Rachakonda police for trying to sell Remdesivir for Rs 30,000 per vial. The arrests were made based on credible information received, and two doses of the drug were seized from the duo’s possession. Before that, on April 26, Rachakonda police had nabbed three people who were similarly selling Remdesivir at a rate of Rs 15,500 per vial, and seized eight vials from their possession.

Several people have been arrested by Hyderabad cops in the last several weeks, since the surge in COVID-19 cases began. In the last two to three weeks, with the demand soaring for Remdesivir, the drugs have been thriving in the black market.

So, what happens to important drugs seized by the police?

Speaking to TNM, Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat said, “As soon as the drugs are seized, they are handed over to the health department. We have been instructed to store them in the conditions mentioned on the label, to ensure the drugs do not go waste.” This applies to any drug used in COVID-19 treatment, and not just Remdesivir.

On April 1, the government of Telangana’s Drugs Control Association wrote a letter to the Director General of Police (DGP) of the state, requesting all seized drugs to be stored as per the instructions on the label. The letter read, “There may be cases where important drugs which can be used for treatment of COVID-19 are seized due to contravention of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the Drug Price Control Order. It is informed that certain drugs are thermolabile and have to be stored as per specific storage conditions mentioned on the label to maintain their potency. Further, proper storage of these drugs would also enable them to be used for treatment of patients who require these drugs.”

It was hence requested that the DGP inform all field officers about the same in the case of seizure of Remdesivir and other important drugs, to avoid wastage.

Following this request, the Telangana DGP directed all senior officials to instruct field officers and station house officers about the same. The officers were asked to store the drugs under suitable conditions or transport the same to the nearest public healthcare centre for cold storage at the earliest, in consultation with Health Department or Drugs Control Administration Department officials.

The letter mentioned, “…They (the drugs) may be permitted to be utilised for treating patients after obtaining necessary permission from the courts/ competent authority to void their wastage for saving lives.” The Telangana police’s effort aims to preserve seized Remdesivir vials, so that those in need of the antiviral drug can utilise them.

READ: Hyderabad resident associations implement containment strategy as cases surge in city

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